Mandate for the PhD Programme Committees at the University of South-Eastern Norway

Adopted by the Board at the University of South-Eastern Norway on 11.02.2016 pursuant to the Regulations relating to the Degree of Philosophiae Doctor (PhD) at the University of South-Eastern Norway (cf. s-case 14/16). Amended by board decision on 15.09.2022

1. Purpose 

The PhD programme committees will act as advisory bodies for the dean in matters relating to the academic content of PhD programmes, and exercise delegated decision-making authority in accordance with the provisions stipulated in the Regulations relating to the Degree of Philosophiae Doctor (PhD Regulations) at USN. Each PhD programme has a programme committee.

The programme committees contribute to ensuring that the PhD programmes are of high academic quality, have good throughput, and are managed and developed in accordance with the institution’s academic profile.


2. Composition, appointment, management and secretariat 

The committee must have the following composition: 

  • Chairperson
  • 4-6 TR employees (teaching and research positions)
  • 2 doctoral research fellows
  • An external representative


TR employees must hold a permanent main position as a research-active associate professor or professor at USN. The distribution of TR employees must, as far as possible, include all subject areas in the PhD programme. Where this ideally results in a higher number of TR employees than 6 representatives, the faculty board should strive to ensure that all subject areas are represented through rotation in new committee periods.


The external representative must have a doctoral degree in relevant areas, and can either be from another faculty, institution or working life.


The composition of the committee must reflect the breadth that is found in the recruitment base for the PhD programme, and efforts must be made to ensure relevant distribution regarding campus affiliation and academic environments.


Both genders must be represented, cf. Section 28 of the Equality and Anti-Discrimination Act


The faculty board at the host faculty appoints members and deputies in order of priority. Qualification requirements for deputy members are the same as for members.


The PhD programme committee is chaired by the PhD programme coordinator. The committee itself chooses the deputy chairperson from among the TR employees.


The PhD programme committees do not have permanent observers. In the event of ad-hoc participation by observers, they have the right to speak, but they do not have the right to propose and make decisions. Observers must not under any circumstances take part in the processing of cases that are exempt from public disclosure.


Members and deputies have a 4-year term of office. The doctoral research fellows are appointed for 2 years at a time. Members normally serve 1 term of office, but may be re-appointed in special cases. Terms of office follow the calendar year.

When new programme committees are appointed as a result of new accreditation of established PhD programmes, it must be ensured that not all members are replaced at the same time. A transitional arrangement is put in place where half of the permanent academic members are re-appointed in order to create continuity in the committee’s work. Regarding merged programmes, 1-2 of the permanent academic members from each of the merged programmes must be re-appointed.  


The dean ensures the committee establishes a secretariat, which will be responsible for case preparation and following up the committee’s decisions.


2.7. Nomination process:

The head of department can nominate candidates for appointment, and employees who meet the qualification requirements can nominate themselves or colleagues in accordance with the established digital nomination system at USN.

The dean presents a reasoned proposal to the faculty board for decision. The decision report must account for the candidates’ qualifications and whether the candidate is nominated for the first time or wishes to be re-appointed. The decision report must also contain objective assessments of the overall composition related to gender balance and the relationship regarding campus/academic affiliation.


3. Tasks and authority 


The PhD programme committees have formal decision-making authority and follow-up responsibility for the areas stipulated in the PhD Regulations. This decision-making authority cannot be sub-delegated.


The PhD programme committees make decisions on cases that are otherwise delegated by the University Board, and advise faculty management on strategic issues that are relevant to PhD education.


The PhD programme committees are responsible for ensuring that the training component, together with the thesis work, provides education at a high academic level and in accordance with international standards.


The PhD programme committees will be an arena for discussing and initiating the development of the PhD programme, and ensuring the development of the programmes in accordance with national legal and regulatory requirements, and requirements stipulated in USN’s regulations.


The PhD programme committees will act as a consultative body regarding changes in common courses, regulations, USN’s Quality System for Education and other framework conditions that affect the administration and development of the PhD programmes.


The PhD programme committees will provide academic and professional advice to the dean when new PhD positions are announced.


The minutes are normally approved at subsequent committee meetings. After approval, the minutes of the meeting are published in USN’s adopted channels.


The PhD programme committee must submit an annual report to the faculty board.


4. Implementation of meetings and communication


The Rector has laid down the rules of procedure for the PhD programme committee.


The committee meetings shall normally be open, unless cases are processed that are exempt from public disclosure.


The dean, or a person authorised by the dean, has the right to meet and speak on the PhD programme committee.


Information about the committee’s work must be published and updated on USN’s website.


5. Entry into force 

The mandate enters into force on 01.01.2023, replacing the mandate of 11.02.2016 adopted by the Board at the University of South-Eastern Norway.